He's the Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight. The World's Greatest Detective. However, Batman is not always the hero we deserve, but he's always the one we need—well, speaking for Gotham, of course. That place is always a dystopia. While Batman doesn't kill people, he has certainly contemplated that many times over in his decades of crimefighting.
The Dark Knight often restrains himself from committing such a mistake. After all, doing so would be becoming the very thing he swore to fight against. There are times, however, when he failed to uphold his own virtues and rules. In fact, there are plenty of evil versions of Batman. Most of them are other people who simply took the cowl and mantle. A few of them, however, are versions of Bruce Wayne himself succumbing to the most primordial of human crimes. Here are 10 of those evil Batman versions that even the Joker might not find funny.
Turns out, Ben Affleck makes a pretty decent and dramatic Batman. He did capture the troubled side of the mad vigilante. His Batman is also loosely based on an old and more violent Bruce Wayne from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Batfleck's most prominent appearance was alongside Superman in the blunderous Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
There, Batfleck tortures and marks his criminal victims, which easily turns into a death sentence for them in prison. He also shows no qualms about killing Superman here and would have gone through with it had Superman not mentioned their mother's name, Martha. Oddly enough, broodier Batfleck murdering Luthor's thugs in a warehouse was the best part of the film.
9 THOMAS WAYNE
Thomas Wayne's Batman is what happens if it was the young Bruce Wayne who got murdered instead. It was explored in Flashpoint in an alternate timeline brought about by Eobard Thawne. In it, Thomas was stricken with grief and vengeance; he took up the mantle of the Batman to wage war on the criminals of Gotham in order to avenge his son.
This is a Batman whose eyes glow red and his signature weapons are guns instead of Batarangs. Thomas Wayne as Batman is still somehow on the right side of the law (but not morality); he will torture his victims and then kill them by dropping them off a building. He also used poison as weapons and would use any means necessary to achieve order, even if it meant killing all the criminals.
8 JASON TODD
One of the many Robins of the Bat-family. Jason Todd, however, was more memorable since he was one of the few Robins to die. It was the Joker responsible for killing him and, for some reason (probably popular demand), he was brought back to life (either with Lazarus pits or reality manipulation). He was never the same, of course, and decided to take up the name Red Hood: the first criminal identity of the Joker.
Like many Robins, Todd scrambled for the Batman title along with Dick Grayson. Todd's version of the Bat was something Bruce would have abhorred. His Batman was all covered up with a metal plate for a mouthpiece. Todd also loved to torture criminals by shooting them in the knees during interrogation. Grayson eventually won the right to be Batman (thankfully) and stopped Todd's rampage soon after.
Azrael was one of the coolest crazy masked vigilantes in the DC comic books and, somehow, Batman trusts him. It seems being controlled by a 500-year-old fanatical religious sect has its benefits for a godforsaken place like Gotham. Hence, when Batman was recuperating after being broken in two by Bane, it was Azrael who filled in for him. At first, it was a success; Az-Bats defeated Bane, which made him more accepted as Batman.
Eventually, it all went downhill. Azrael did not share the same restraint that Bruce Wayne did. As a result, he didn't even try to save some of the criminals he caught and tortured them more harshly than the real Batman ever could. Moreover, he constantly had voices in his head regarding his religious sect's beliefs, meaning he was unstable. When Bruce was finally ready to reclaim the cape, Azrael refused and even fought Wayne for the title. Thankfully, the real Batman won and Azrael was left to wander Gotham in shame.
6 DAMIAN WAYNE
Oh boy, another Robin—Damian Wayne, nonetheless. Arguably, Damian is the Robin with the most issues. He also garners the most hate among the Bat-family members. He's Bruce Wayne's illegitimate son to Talia Al'Ghul, so you can imagine how the kid turned out. After Dick Grayson's Batman was killed, it was Damian who decided to take up the mantle. The results were an insult to his father's legacy.
Damian's Batman killed the Joker by tearing his guts open. He also willingly kills any criminal he comes across if he deems it necessary to end their lives. Additionally, it was implied that Damian even made a pact with a Devil, giving him immortality in exchange for his soul. Hence, his Batman has supernatural abilities and can heal wounds rapidly. Damian was such a failure as Batman, Gotham was destroyed and turned into a nuclear wasteland partly because of him.
5 BLACK LANTERN BATMAN
At the height of the popularity of the zombie genre in media, someone simply had to do a zombie Batman. Marvel did it with their superheroes and mutants, so DC also had to. Still, their zombie Batman has a special twist: he's also a Black Lantern corps (or corpse would be more fitting) member. Some dude named Nekros resurrected dead heroes (or in this Batman's case, clones of dead superheroes) to do his bidding.
Black Lanterns, a version of the Green Lantern rings which are reserved for the undead, found their way in zombie Batman's hands. So, along with the other zombie-fied Justice League members as Black Lanterns, zombie Batman terrorized Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, and their Earth in The Blackest Night comic books.
4 THE MURDER MACHINE
Here's what would happen if Batman loses his only remaining human tie to his parents, Alfred. The Murder Machine was a cyborg Batman first introduced by a certain evil Batman in further in this list. He's from Earth-44, an alternate reality where his Alfred got killed and he started blaming himself and coming up with ways to replace Alfred.
With Justice League's Cyborg's help, Bruce managed to build an Alfred Protocol A.I. machine. Sadly, the A.I. became rogue and fused itself with Bruce. Not only that, but it also overtook Bruce and transformed both of them into a murder-bot that has similar abilities as Cyborg.
3 NAZI BATMAN
Would Batman still exist if Nazi Germany had won and conquered the world? You probably know the answer to that. He exists in Earth-10 and his name is Leatherwing. No, he's not an agent of anarchy in a time of overt fascism. In fact, it was Adolf Hitler himself who officiated him and his Nazi superhero group, Justice League Axis (JLAxis), in order to enforce the rules and policies of the Führer.
Since he's a Nazi, he's also racist and sometimes has a glaring swastika on top of the bat logo on his costume. There's really nothing special (or good) about Leatherwing apart from his being on the absolute wrong side of history. Oh, his enemies are also the Monitors—an alien race tasked with safeguarding the multiverse.
Despite having a different name, Owlman is everything Batman was supposed to be if he was an evil billionaire genius with issues instead of just a billionaire genius with issues. Owlman hails from Earth-3 where Bruce Wayne actually had an older brother named Thomas Wayne Jr. Thomas believed that his parents were managing the family wealth poorly, so he had Alfred kill them. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Bruce tried to stop him, so Thomas killed him too. Lovely.
Young Thomas Jr. inherited the riches and assumed the identity of Owlman to blackmail, intimidate, and destroy anyone in Gotham who opposed him. Thomas Jr. also sought someone to fill in the brother gap left by Bruce... so he killed Dick Grayson's entire family and adopted him as his sidekick. Soon after, Owlman and the evil alternate reality counterpart of the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate, managed to dominate the whole world. Owlman and his Crime Syndicate eventually set their sights on Prime Earth/Earth-0, where he faced off with Batman.
1 THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS
This unholy union between the Joker and the Batman is the most disturbing version of the Dark Knight yet. The Batman Who Laughs from the comic book of the same name reimagines Earth-22's Bruce Wayne. In all respects, he was the same as the Batman from Prime Earth, except for the fact that he decided to kill the Joker. To his dismay, the Joker released a gas upon his death which infected Bruce and turned him into the Joker version of Batman.
The Batman Who Laughs has actually achieved what even some of the godliest beings in the universe couldn't do: annihilate Earth. He first set out to do this by murdering the Bat-family in cold blood. One week after that, he successfully slaughtered the Justice League and caused Superman to go on a killing frenzy; he made the Man of Steel kill Lois Lane and even his own son. Clearly, the Batman Who Laughs also caused insane amounts of trouble for the multiverse. It was only with Prime Earth's unlikely Bruce Wayne and Joker team-up that they managed to defeat him.